So, it’s been a minute since my last blog post.
Actually, it’s been more than 313,000 minutes since my last blog post. A few reasons behind that include:
Needless to say, things have been a bit insane.
When I started this blog, I promised myself I’d write about my professional passions. And something I’m REALLY passionate about is getting shit done. Seriously, if I could just write “good at getting shit done” on a blank piece of paper and call it my resume, I would.
But for a few months at Emplify, the marketing team wasn’t getting shit done. We were doing a lot of great things: working on the new book, going to great events, helping build new brand messaging. But, we were struggling with the paradox of choice - when everything is important and a priority, nothing is. On top of that, we didn’t have clear stakeholders for the projects that did make it to the top of the list. We were overwhelmed by work, frustrated when multiple stakeholders weighed in on project quality, and not getting anything out the door because of last minute edits and fixes. We weren’t meeting OKRs and were constantly confused about who was responsible for missing them.
Personally, I was a mess. I’d stay up all night worrying about problems that weren’t mine to solve and spend the day feeling defeated by my mountainous to-do list, constantly taking on tasks that didn’t have a clear owner. I’ve been really lucky to have bosses that let me be vulnerable, so I booked a 90-minute meeting with our company’s fearless leader and told him something had to change.
Since then, we’ve made a lot of changes, and the marketing team at large is so much more engaged. There are many reasons for that, but one clear reason is due to one (harder than you would think) question that we sat down and asked ourselves:
“Who owns what?”
If your marketing team is anything like ours, you struggle to know who the ultimate owner of a project is. Who is the person that is directly responsible for the success of a deliverable? Who sets measurable outcomes for a task that the team can align with? Who needs this project to be successful so they can ultimately be successful too?
What Ownership Means to Our Team
At Emplify, a lot of our ownership revolves around our demand generation channels. Every quarter, we set an SQL (sales qualified lead) goal for each of our main marketing channels, such as advertising, paid search, events, webinars, organic website leads, and so on. Then, each one of those channels is assigned an inherent owner on our team. That owner is responsible for surfacing problems around that particular channel, such as being behind pace for an SQL goal or needing to update a piece of collateral so it aligns with our product messaging. Those problems are then brainstormed/solutioned, and that owner becomes the stakeholder for the ultimate deliverable.
This method of project ownership has been particularly successful for our team because:
Since then, we’ve been able to ship work more quickly because we rely on the feedback of 1-2 defined stakeholders to refine a project, rather than 3-5 because no one knew who gave the final say. Being able to ship faster results in seeing wins faster, which in turn boosts engagement because we can more frequently celebrate our collaborative successes.
If you’re struggling with similar issues on your marketing team, I’d encourage you to take a step back and truly define channel stakeholders and their associated KPIs to help make project prioritization and implementation a bit easier. This conversation on our team took three hours on a Friday afternoon, included beer, and resulted in significant boosts to our project confidence, ownership and quality.
Have you experiences similar issues with your team? How did you address it? Would love to chat more in the comments below!